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Josh Emmett eyeing UFC 232 return, won’t fight teammate Chad Mendes unless he’s champion

UFC featherweight Josh Emmett wants to return to the octagon at UFC 232 on December 30th.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Winnipeg-Emmett vs Lamas Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

UFC featherweight contender Josh Emmett has been out of action since his knockout loss to Jeremy Stephens back at UFC Orlando in February. Now, the 33-year-old is targeting either a UFC 232 or early January 2019 return.

Emmett (13-2) suffered six fractures and had to have a plate put in his face following his loss to Stephens. He was riding a two-fight winning streak entering his fight against “Lil Heathen”, picking up a unanimous decision win against Felipe Arantes, and a knockout win against UFC veteran Ricardo Lamas.

Speaking to Bloody Elbow, Emmett discussed his eagerness to get back in the octagon and compete, and also what he could have differently in his fight with Stephens.

“I’m hungry and eager to get back in there, I want to be a world champion. But I’m trying to ease back into things, I don’t want to jump back in too quick because I’ve seen teammates and others ruin their careers doing that, getting concussion on top of concussion can be a career ending injury.

“There’s several things I would have done different. When I sat him down in the first round, instead of going in for the kill like Stephens did to me, I paced myself, where as I should have pounced on him and not worried about my gas tank in the later rounds.”

After returning from a two-year suspension, Emmett’s longtime teammate at Team Alpha Male, Chad Mendes, successfully made his return to the octagon last weekend with a first round win over Myles Jury at UFC Boise. Despite Mendes and Emmett being closely ranked at 145-pounds, Emmett said the only time you would see them fight each other, was if one was the champion.

“Not only him, but I’m not going to fight any of my teammates. Chad and I have talked about this and we would only fight each other if one of us was the champion, and the other was the number one contender. In that case, as long as we get paid well, there would be no hard feelings, but that’s the only way you would ever see something like that.”

Emmett was medically suspended for six months following his loss to Stephens, so he is not even eligible to start training yet. However, he is hopeful to fight on the UFC’s last PPV card of the year, UFC 232, which takes place on December 30th.

“Personally, if everything goes well and I feel good when I return from my medical suspension, I would like to fight on the NYE card in Vegas (UFC 232) but if I can’t do that, I want to get a fight in January sometime. As far as an opponent goes, I don’t care who I fight, I want fights that will get me closer to that title shot.”